Sunday, April 25, 2010

Copyright Licensing - How to License and Make Money From Your Copyright by John S. Steele

Before we discuss copyright licensing, let's just refresh ourselves as to the meaning of the word copyright. Copyright protection is given to the owner of original works they have written, drawn or composed regardless of whether it is published or unpublished. So when you think of copyrighting, you should be thinking of art, music, drama or literary works. Some other intellectual property items will fall under copyrighting protection as well but these are the main types.

Unless the owner of a copyright gives you permission you are prohibited by law from copying his/her work. The exact laws and the recourse available will differ from country to country. You can give someone permission to copy your work when you own the copyright if you grant them a copyrighting license. This can then authorize them to reproduce the drawings or music and distribute them, stage a production of your play, display your paintings etc.

The actual conditions of the license will be subject to a written contract. You should never use copyrighted material on the basis of a handshake or non written agreement as you could very easily end up being sued and caught in the middle of a public relations nightmare.

A copyright license will include something called a grant of license. This gives the person looking to use the work the right to do that. The contract will also cover who owns what, how long the agreement will last and the form of remuneration to be put in place and the terms agreed i.e. immediate payment or a percentage of sales. It will also stipulate any conditions that have been imposed on how the copyrighted works can be used for example the right to stage a production in theater but not to show film coverage of the same production on TV. Another example would be the right to reprint a book in a different language but not to make it available on the internet in the form of an e-book.

The contract will also have to state where it is valid i.e. a contract drawn up in the US may not be sufficient to cover copyright law in the UK and vice versa. It may be that you need a number of contracts, with each one written to apply in a particular geographic location thus taking account of the laws of that particular Country. It is very important that the contract awarding the copyright license stipulates the penalties that will be applied if the terms of the contact are broken.

As with all types of licensing agreements you should employ a legal expert in this area to represent you. If something does go wrong and you find that the legal protection under the contract was insufficient, you can then sue your attorney. If you proceed on your own, who do you think will foot the bill of any loss you make?

In addition to using an attorney or more than one if you plan on offering copyright licenses worldwide, you need to educate yourself about licensing. Take a great course and learn from someone who has put the theory into practice. Only then can you know whether the contract you are being offered is a good one or not!

Licensing agent John Steele teaches you how to successfully license your product, trademark, patent, copyright or brand. Visit John Steele's website to learn about licensing agreements, licensing partners, and licensing pitfalls.

Plush Toys - Protecting the Copyright, Trademark and Patent by Rob E Bishop

If you have ideas for unique plush toys, it's just right to do everything to protect them. Plush toys are very profitable and if you don't cover all bases to protect your ideas, "enterprising" individuals will take advantage of it. They will be doing it "legally" because you didn't do the things to lawfully protect them. The last thing that a toy inventor would want is to see his cute plush toys displayed somewhere and he's not the legal owner of it.

There are three things that you can apply for to protect your plush toys ideas - copyright, trademark and patent. So what can you personally do to protect them? Here are the things that you can do to protect your unique plush toys' copyrights, trademarks and patent:

*  Copyrights

Copyrights protect the overall look of your toy. For cuddly plush toys, it protects its "cuteness". It will shelter the way the face looks, the proportion of the body and the likes. The toys features are probably the most important factor to protect since they are the most obvious and your selling point. Copyrighting is automatic - the moment you put your idea onto paper or even a napkin from the neighborhood deli, it is legally protected under copyright. However, it's better if you can document it so that it will be easier to enforce. How do you document it? A lot of people believe that mailing yourself a copy of your idea via snail mail is the way to go. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. The best way to protect your plush toy ideas is to keep a note of all the relevant information that proves you as the owner of the idea. A notebook would do. Just take note of all your ideas and when you thought of them. You can add additional information about how you thought of the idea and where you thought of them. To further enforce it, keep notes of all witnesses. Just like in any legal proceedings, witnesses can win your "case" for you.

 *   Trademarks

Trademarks protect your toys' names and logos. Basically, your toys' branding is protected. Your unique stuffed doll should have distinctive names so you can do things to protect them. An example of a trademark is the name Barbie. No one can use Barbie for a name because you will be violating its trademarks. This is a little expensive and not all toys should be covered by it. The best way is to ask for legal advice from a lawyer to see if it makes sense to apply for trademarks in your own case.

*   Patent

This is the most expensive among the three. Aside from being expensive, this is also the hardest to get. As an inventor of cute plush toys, it's good to know that you probably won't need them. But like trademarks, it's best to ask for legal advice from a lawyer.

So check to see what applies to your stuffed dolls to know how you can protect them. It will be one of the best things you've ever done as a toy inventor.

Rob E Bishop invites you to bring your stuffed toy invention idea to his website at where you can learn how to design, create and sell your own stuffed toy idea. Download his free report "Don't Get Ripped Off" to discover the secrets of how to navigate the dangers in making your toy idea successful.